Re: My offensive post to the Thread in BrainTennis

David Musick (
Wed, 21 Aug 96 17:00:58 UT

Yes, you guys are right, my post to the Thread in BrainTennis, was offensive
in the way I said it. However, I did that intentionally, and I _was_
expecting to get a lot of shit for it, which I did. If that post was the last
thing I was planning on writing there, then it would have been a bad move, but
offending people, to a certain extent, has a way of engaging their minds and
getting them to state their real concerns. My intent was to offend, get
people all excited, and then follow up with a few very nice posts, addressing
their real concerns in a non-threatening way. Basically saying the same
things that I said before, but in a way that isn't so threatening.

I've had this approach done to me several times by my father, where I am
offended and resistant to what he says, and then he follows up on what he said
with more agreeable statements. It is a very effective tactic. Initially, it
causes mental barriers to go up, and I am very resistent to what he says, but
it also gets my mind highly engaged and thinking really hard about what he's
saying, looking for flaws, looking for ways to argue, and I state these
apparent flaws, often angrily at first, and he addresses my concerns in a very
calm, reasonable, non-threatening way, and eventually, I see what he is
saying, and it all makes so much sense! Being offended has a very profound
psycholoogical effect. It has a way of making one CARE about the discussion,
often passionately. Of course, leaving other people offended is not a very
good strategy, because then their mental barriers will just stay up. There
must be a period of "talking them down" from their offended stance, and if
that is done successfully, the ideas will be embedded very deeply in their
minds because they engaged so much of their minds by being offended in the
first place. It makes the discussion more interesting than a dry academic
discussion because it engages their emotions.

By, the way, this tactic can't be used to make people believe anything that
they don't find rational; it just makes it so that when they do see the
rationality in what you're saying, it will embed itself more deeply in their
minds. That's the point of the "talking them down" period; to show them that
your ideas make sense.

Although, one has to be careful not to offend too much, otherwise they won't
listen to the rest of what you have to say. But on-line forums are nice for
that, because people don't feel nearly as threatened as they would if the same
things were said in person.

- David Musick